Harry Styles has largely been praised by critics for his debut self-titled album, which was released on Friday.
The One Direction star is the second original member of the band to unveil an album, following in the footsteps of former band member Zayn Malik and beating remaining members Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne and Niall Horan to releasing their first solo albums.
The highly-anticipated album has been met with overall positive reviews, many of which describe Harry’s effort as wide-ranging, grown-up and eclectic.
// HARRY STYLES //
Here are some of the reviews for Styles’s album, Harry Styles.
The Independent’s Roisin O’Connor has given Harry three out of five stars for his “immersive, well-produced collection of songs that isn’t trying to prove anything in particular to anyone”.
Citing David Bowie and Beatles-inspired songs including his debut single Sign Of The Times and Sweet Creature, she said: “Styles is a true child of the internet age, so this album doesn’t stick to any one genre in particular and there are references to everything from folk to funk to punk rock.”
It was another three stars from NME’s Leonie Cooper, who described it as a “not-that-bad” selection of classic Los Angeles-style rock.
Crediting the singer as having “wisely grown-up”, she noticed sounds of The Eagles, Motley Crue, Elton John and mid-1990s Sheryl Crow, but concluded: “Taking inspiration from the best seems to have paid dividends, but it doesn’t half make you wonder what the real Harry Styles sounds like.”
Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield complimented Harry’s “superb” debut, awarding it an impressive four out five stars.
He hailed Harry as a rock star already and set him apart from other singers of his age and era with the comment: “He never sounds like he’s trying too hard or scrounging for cred, which is where boy-band alumni usually screw up their solo records.”
Alexis Petridis wrote in The Guardian that the record “ticked every box on the Take Me Seriously checklist” and deserved three stars.
In a slightly more cynical review, Alexis said the album was far from Beatles level but credited the singer for his mature and soulful lyrics.
“Styles is remarkably good as a confessional singer-songwriter,” Alexis wrote, “notwithstanding the sneaking feeling that spending his entire adult life as a member of a hugely successful boyband hasn’t left him with a great deal to confess.”
Richard Lawson, on the other hand, gave a more sceptical interpretation for Vanity Fair.
Unconvinced by the melancholic themes of heartbreak, he said the whole album carried a “sheen of youthful inauthenticity”, and wrote: “Harry Styles is so steeped in a sense of history, in a yearning for the old days, that it’s hard not to see some of it – half of it? – as a put-on.”
Metro’s Katie Baillie said that Harry’s first stab at an album has proved he can make it as a rock star on his own.
Katie described the overall effect as “a bit of a roller coaster of a sound, but a complete departure from the high energy pop tracks his fans are used to him cranking out”, concluding: “It’s a good change.”
The Evening Standard’s Rick Pearson awarded the album three stars and put it on a par with Ed Sheeran’s Divide.
Describing it as “as good as anything” on Ed’s latest hit record, he complimented the 23-year-old’s talents as a singer and summarised: “This album won’t change your life – but it might change your opinion of Styles.”